Candidates who have worked or studied abroad are employed faster and at higher starting salaries than their peers. Here are some of the ways in which living abroad will give you the career boost that you need:
In an increasingly global world, international connections are becoming important. Living abroad opens you up to new job postings, possibilities for training, and international connections such as business partners and mentors.
Learning a language
For many people, living abroad will involve learning a new language. Even if you only learn a little of the language, this can make a big difference to your employability. Connecting to people in their native language, even if not fluently, has been shown to build trust. It follows that the ability to communicate with someone in their native language enhances business prospects with clients, customers and partners. For this reason, many Canadian companies are now becoming multilingual, and employees with more than one language are in high demand.
Learning a language isn’t the only skill you will gain whilst abroad. In an increasingly saturated graduate job market, employers are often seeking the ‘soft skills’ that graduates who have lived abroad possess. People who have lived abroad are creative problem solvers, with high levels of adaptability, independence and resilience. Not only do these skills make you more likely to get a job faster, they will also help you progress in the workplace once you have been hired.
Naturally, people from different countries have different ways of doing things. Living abroad will expose you to different ways of connecting with people and doing business. For example, while volunteering in Tanzania, I learned that Tanzanians generally will only do business after a trusting relationship has been established. Through this, I learned the value of relaxing and laughing over a cup of chai before making agreements with people: it makes meetings more enjoyable, and it also helps you understand what those people want to get out of the agreement.
Having knowledge of the way that different cultures communicate and do business is highly valuable in the workplace, especially if you’re working somewhere with international clients. It is also great to explore how other cultures work so that you can adopt some of their good habits and practices.
Time to Think About What You Want
Taking a little space from your life at home – your schedule, your relationships, your work life – could be exactly what you need to figure out what to do next. When you return to your home country, you will be refreshed and ready to apply for jobs in your chosen field!
Interested? Did you know that Canada has reciprocal agreements with many countries around the world, which will allow you to work there on a temporary visa for a year or two, no strings attached. Check out International Experience Canada and SWAP to learn more.